Last night I started teaching Riley how to play the piano. Let's just say, I got off on totally the wrong foot. I forgot lesson number one for training:
If you're going to teach locksmithing, don't start out by teaching people the history of locks; show 'em how to pick a lock.
I started out trying to show Riley how to read music. And that's about as interesting as the history of locks. Plus, she wasn't getting it. And she's a bright kid. She got instantly frustrated and buried herself in the sofa after about 5 minutes into it.
"I never accomplish anything like this!!!" she wailed.
I realized I had failed. Granted, Riley has a very short stack of patience when it comes to learning something new and often gives up quickly if she's not a natural at it. But I was very concerned that I was turning her off to making music for life (like I have turned her off to riding bikes forever and ever amen).
"Listen," I reasoned. "This is not about your inability to accomplish something; it's my fault. I should have started with something fun."
Eventually, I struck on a good reason for her to try again and we sat together at the piano. I put the piano primer aside and we played a good round of Chop Sticks. Then, I showed her the song you can play using a fist and the black keys. Then, I played the rhythm for Heart and Soul and I had her improvise a melody.
It was much better. And we even sounded good. I'd change up the tempo or synchopate it and she'd adjust to the mood. We had a blast. And I was able to work in some nuts and bolts: She can identify "C" on the piano and she knows that the musical alphabet goes from a to g and then starts over again.
I think that's a good start. She can be creative and hands on and I'll sneak in some technique as we go along.